The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Beaten

    3
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Burns

    4
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Falls

    12
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Robbed

    13
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2